The city of Keizer is to be commended for reaching out and listening to citizens. The next in a series of Town Hall meetings will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 30 at the civic center.
The city has done its part by holding the meetings; the public should now fulfill its roles: attend and ask questions they have.
Some may think that a summer Saturday morning is not a great time for a Town Hall meeting. Democracy and government go on regardless of the calendar or the weather. The city has committed to holding Town Hall meetings monthly.
Though towns in our part of the country don’t have a tradition of Town Hall meetings, it is a viable way for citizens to step up to the microphone and state what’s on their minds. We would hope that households throughout Keizer see this as an opportunity to informally discuss issues with the city.
The Town Halls held earlier this year, which was well attended, was focused on public safety and funding, especially regarding 911 service. The topic of the two following meetings also were on public safety; the last open mic meeting was sparsely attended.
Some people may not attend a meeting that has no main topic, but that would be a mistake. The topics discussed will be what the people what to talk about. And there are certainly enough issues that citizens can bring up and ask questions about.
Some issues and questions attendees on Saturday can address could include:
• Will the citizens have an opportunity to vote this November on additional funding for 911 service? If so, what will be on the ballot? An added fee on water bills? A surcharge on cell phones?
• What effect would a proposal annexation of Clear Lake by Keizer Fire District have on the rest of the city?
• Is a tourist center the best use of up to $500,000 in urban renewal funds?
• Would the city allow the library to move into the civic center?
• How would any expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary affect homeowners in the rest of Keizer?
• What is the city going to do about the coyote problem in the Gubser neighborhood?
• When will certain neighborhoods have sidewalks?
There are lots of questions to ask and issues to be raised. The city may not have immediate answers, or their answers may not be the ones some individuals want to hear.
The city and the members of the city council do what they think is in the best interests of Keizer. Sometimes those decisions are not on the political radar until its on the council’s agenda. Town Hall meetings are a barometer of what the people think; the city and the council should take seriously what is said and what is asked.
Citizens should attend the Town Hall meeting; it is democracy at its grass roots best. If some have a phobia about speaking in public, they should go with others—friends, neighbors, friends; there’s safety in numbers.
Citizens should also remember that there are no dumb questions. The only dumb questions are those that are not asked.
Like they say, it never hurts to ask, even if the answer’s not what you want.